Akinbode Oluwafemi

The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has urged the Federal Government and signatories to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) to include control in their development agenda.

Chairman of NTCA board, Akinbode Oluwafemi, who spoke in company of the Programme Manager, Oluseun Esan, yesterday in Lagos, insisted that including tobacco control in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was imperative “since tobacco is known for its addictive nature and induces poverty and diseases on its users.”

Evidences abound that the tobacco industry has embarked on an unrelenting attack on developing countries like Nigeria, he noted, adding that the tobacco menace was prevalent in low and middle income countries (LMICs) due mainly to weak laws, demographic dynamics and the political influence tobacco corporations wield.

“Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure continues to harm people globally. Those harmed are often vulnerable and include children, those living in LMICs and those with existing diseases. As noted by the WHO in 2017, nearly 80 per cent of those who smoke live in LMICs.

“In 2015, leaders from 193 countries came together and created the SDGs. The 17 goals imagine a future that would be rid of poverty and hunger, as well as a world free from the worst effects of climate change just 15 years after,” he said.

According to Oluwafemi, reducing tobacco use plays a major role in global efforts to achieve the SDGs target to reduce premature deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by one-third in 2030, and most of the 17 goals have a direct or indirect relationship with tobacco control.

The alliance, therefore, charged the Federal Government to increase the excise duty on tobacco products to the extent that revenues realised from the increase could be used to fund SDGs priorities and tobacco control.It also urged all relevant government agencies to immediately start enforcing the provisions of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act, 2015.

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